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Millennials as growth engines

Manulife Asset Management and Trust Corporation is banking on the rising number of Filipino middle class and the large number of millennials to boost its newly-formed business.

In a briefing Wednesday, Manulife Philippines president and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Charland said the rising number of millennials need a lot of help in terms of how they will invest their funds.

He, however, clarified that their Unit Investment Trust Funds products -- namely Manulife Stable Income Fund, Manulife Income Builder Fund, and Manulife Equity Wealth Fund, also cater to those who have already invested in various assets but want to diversify their portfolio. Minimum investment is P5,000.

He explained that some individuals want to invest in certain types of financial products that do not have personal insurance-related offering.

"We needed to offer something that is pure investment as opposed to those that have insurance-links," he said.
He declined to give assets under management value target but said officials of the asset management firm, which received from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) its certificate of authority to operate trust and other fiduciary business only last June, said their ambition is "to be a significant player in this country."  
"I think we have the position to put a dent on the industry," he said.
He said 3,000 of their 10,000 financial advisors have received their training and are ready to cater to prospective clients.
He said five to six additional products are in the pipeline but declined to give a timeline when these will be launched.  
Manulife Asset Managment and Trust Corporation is the global asset management arm of Manulife and its officials are positive for a strong growth for its business in the Philippines given the improving economies of countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Charland said the political noise in the country is not unique in the Philippines, thus, the focus on the demographics, which, he said, is "absolutely tremendous."
"A lot of people are working and consuming. OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) continue to remit in record amounts so I'm quite bullish on the economy," he said.
Michael Dommermuth, head of Manulife's Wealth and Asset Management in Asia, during the same briefing, said the company considers ASEAN as a "non-stoppable asset force" and is forecast to eclipse the European Union and Japan by 2050 through the help of Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

"We're throwing the ball where we see the receiver will be," he said.

Dommermuth explained that officials of Manulife's asset management arm are of the belief that the Philippines will play a big role in the company's core strength in the coming years, with the help of their large number of financial advisors.

"We see the Philippines as among those with the fastest asset growth in the region," he said.

He said the company's asset management arm has long been in the ASEAN but started its operations in the Philippines just this year because "regulations weren't accommodating" in the past.